Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave

Book - 2001
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In 1845, just seven years after his escape from slavery, the young Frederick Douglass published this powerful account of his life in bondage and his triumph over oppression. The book, which marked the beginning of Douglass's career as an impassioned writer, journalist, and orator for the abolitionist cause, reveals the terrors he faced as a slave, the brutalities of his owners and overseers, and his harrowing escape to the North. It has become a classic of American autobiography.

This edition of the book, based on the authoritative text that appears in Yale University Press's multivolume edition of the Frederick Douglass Papers, is the only edition of Douglass's Narrative designated as an Approved Text by the Modern Language Association's Committee on Scholarly Editions. It includes a chronology of Douglass's life, a thorough introduction by the eminent Douglass scholar John Blassingame, historical notes, and reader responses to the first edition of 1845

Publisher: New Haven : Yale University Press, ©2001.
ISBN: 9780300088311
Characteristics: xli, 148 pages :,illustrations, maps ;,24 cm.


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Mar 02, 2020

What adjectives can yet be left to extoll upon Frederick Douglass’s 1845 “Narrative”? Eloquent, penetrating, harrowing, profound, inspirational … It is all these and infinitely more. What makes his story so powerful, however, is the clarity, the starkness, the frank, candid nature of his prose. Dramatic though the events of his life were, this is not a tale dramatically told. But neither is it cold and unemotional. Rather, Douglass speaks plainly — and movingly — of the events of his life, the horrors of slavery to which he was both witness and victim, the effects of the institution on slave and slaveholder alike, and the hypocrisy of a Christian religion that abides it.

I have but two small gripes. First, considering its publication just seven years after escaping bondage, Douglass’s status as a fugitive slave, and his desire to protect himself and those who might otherwise be adversely affected by the disclosure of certain details, there is an unwanted amount of self-redaction throughout. Douglass makes clear the reasons for this, all wholly warranted and understandable, but that doesn’t keep them, including the story of his escape and journey from Maryland to New York, from being missed. Second, I’m no melodramatist, but there was a part of me that longed for Douglass to abandon his measured tone and raise his voice, to scream out, lash out, wail and rage against his oppressors, against the system, against those who would rather turn a blind eye.

Of course, that would have been a colossal blunder, and both Douglass and his publishers no doubt understood this. As it happened, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave” became one of the most influential pieces of literature to fuel the abolitionist movement. It remains to this day an essential read, not just for a historical understanding of the atrocities of slavery, but for the stirring account of one man’s capacity to overcome.

Nov 07, 2018

it wes a good book and i wood recommend it

Nov 07, 2018

it was good. i find leaning about this time period interesting.

Nov 07, 2018

I thought the book was very inspiring and had a good message. Fredrick's life was something I thought about for days and how some of the problems he was struggling with is what some black men in America still deal with today. The way the book was written and worded was very well done too. He didn't sugar code anything, and basically just said "this is what happened and this is true." The way he learned to read and build himself into a self made man was incredible. I loved the book and would definitely read more by him/about him.

Nov 07, 2018

i didnt like it tho ive read like 10 books on this dude so that might have a affect.and audiobook man was monotone.

Nov 07, 2018

This book, while painfully honest, is a viewpoint on American Slavery that everyone needs to see. Fredrick Douglass' story is eye-opening and important. I would suggest this book to anyone over 12, because of some of the content/imagery.

Sep 24, 2018

I don't know what three stars even means, or why I assigned this great book such a piddly rating...but it's star-less. Unstarrable. I read this 20 years ago and still think about it often. Some of the images Douglass paints are still burned into my mind's eye, especially the one of a pen fitting into the cracks in his soles.

robhoma Mar 31, 2014

When studying slavery in American History, students are often exposed to the arguments of Abolitionists and the defense of the peculiar institution by Southerners. The narrative by Frederick Douglass gives a voice to the slaves. The book is 124 pages long and very quick to read. You can also download this book from the internet, for free, at Project Gutenberg. The difference is that this version has a ten-page introduction by Peter Gomes.

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Nov 07, 2018

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